The "Christian Potheads" Are Coming!

Colorado has recently made it legal to sell marijuana over the counter for recreational use. This is something of a social experiment in America. In recent years polls have shown an increasing majority of  Americans are for the legalization of marijuana. Scientific research has shown that while there are potential long term serious medical and psychological issues associated with marijuana usage,  it is recognized that there are no known reports of somebody "overdosing" and dying from the drug. Thus it is seen as a mostly harmless drug.  Within the next decade or two, most if not all states will lift the prohibition on marijuana, and it will probably become as common as cigarets and alcohol.

With that said, the increasing social acceptability of the use of marijuana will continue to increase throughout society, and as a result a greater number of Christians will start not only using the drug, but will do so openly.  There isn't a doubt in my mind that a number of Christians stood in line at various retail outlets in the past couple of weeks in Colorado, and scored a small bag of the infamous weed.  Sadly, there is little doubt in my mind that some praise and worship leaders and some pastors secretly blended in with the crowds and purchased some pot for themselves. And if push came to shove, many would probably admit to having secretly done so.  

It is only a matter of time before you'll not only have a large number of Christians admitting to the practice, but it won't be long before you find growing pockets of Christians openly defending the practice under the banner of Christian liberty, doing it in the name of grace, and viciously attacking people for "legalism" and believing in "works based salvation."  Many will probably be Southern Baptist.  In fact, I know some Christians who I've talked to over the years who have admitted to me that they see nothing wrong with smoking pot, and "if it were legal," then they would have no moral problem lighting up a joint.  But because it is currently illegal in most states to use marijuana, then they will refrain.

Herein I believes lies the problem.  The problem with me isn't so much that recreational marijuana use is now legal in some parts of the country, and that similar legislation will likely be passed in most if not all of the states in the next decade or two.  The problem with me isn't so much that Christians will likely use marijuana in greater numbers than I'd care for, in spite of clear Scriptural teaching against doing things that get one intoxicated (although such is definitely a pastoral concern.)

The main problem that this issue represents for me is the fact that so many Christians still have no earthly idea of what it means to live one's life based on the active leading of the Holy Spirit.  If it weren't for explicit laws (biblically based or otherwise outlined in the laws of the land) that said "Thou shall not..." then many Christians would find themselves engaging in a lot of otherwise condemned behaviors. Instead of attempting to grow in their love of the Lord and discoving all the opportunities they have to become more and more like Him, many try to live in the sad place of getting away with as much as they can comfortably justify in the name of grace.  

You see, when you live a life based on the new heart and mind that comes with knowing the Lord, and living your life based on the leading of the Holy Spirit in your every day actions, you don't need laws that say "Thou shall not."   For example, if you are living your life by the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will teach you to love God and love your neighbor.  Thus, you don't need a law that tells you to not steal, murder, or sleep with your neighbors wife, because by depending on Him in your every day actions, and allowing Him to show you what to do in every situation, you'll discover that the Lord never leads you do things such as stealing, murdering, or sleeping with your neighbors wife.  

However, because so many Christians simply do not rely on the Lord in their everyday actions, and don't actively walk with Him in a relationship, they must rely on laws carved out in stone that remind them of how to behave.  This would be like if my wife hung a sign over the toilet that reminds me to put the seat lid down every time I use the bathroom.  But because I love my wife and know what makes her happy, I make it a point to put the seat lid down after every trip. I don't need codified laws written in stone hanging around the house reminding me of how to keep her happy.  

If you follow what I'm saying, then apply this logic to pot usage.  Many in the church are probably somewhat upset the loosening of laws governing marijuana.  It was easy, pastorally, just to tell people, "As Christians we are supposed to submit to the laws of the land, and since marijuana is illegal, it is a sin to do so."  But now because we lack any explicit legal support, we'll find it more difficult to convince people to avoid certain behaviors, because at the end of the day, we know a lot Christians are almost entirely dependent upon such laws, because they lare lacking in their relationship with the Lord, and don't know what it is like to depending on the leading of His Spirit. It is much easier to give a people a list of behaviors to refrain from and hang over their head than to teach people how to actually grow in a real relationship with the Lord.  And perhaps this is the case, because at the end of the day so many of us are guilty of law based living, instead of a vibrant dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.